Director Paul Schrader was relieved when he finally watched film-maker Renny Harlin's version of EXORCIST: THE BEGINNING - because he thought it was so bad his edit might stand a chance of securing a release.

AMERICAN GIGOLO director Schrader was kicked off the prequel by dissatisfied studio MORGAN CREEK, who ordered the $32 million (GBP17 million) film be completely reshot by CLIFFHANGER director Harlin.

But when Schrader, who was dismissed because his version wasn't deemed scary enough, saw Harlin's film alongside The Exorcist author WILLIAM PETER BLATTY he left the cinema surprisingly elated.

He says, "What worried me most about Renny's film is that it was going to be sort of good.

"In fact, I went to see it with William Blatty and the worse it got the better I felt. He, conversely, just felt worse.

"By the end of the film he was cursing and yelling in the lobby. I was smiling saying, 'Maybe my film has a chance after all.'

"The great battle now is to see if it can assume some sort of life."

Schrader's original version of Exorcist: The Beginning received its world premiere at the 23RD BRUSSELS INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL OF FANTASTIC FILM last weekend (19/20MAR05). It is not yet known whether it will receive a full release.

24/03/2005 03:05